Why Didith Tayawa – Figuracion is my favorite Kinoy*

She will almost surely not be able to read this given Didith Tayawa – Figuracion‘s very hectic schedule for the next few weeks, but she already knows what we will put here : we know of no other Filipino in New Zealand who, with his/her own personal efforts, has done more to promote Filipino arts and culture.

With the rest of her co-members, Didith has funneled her creative energy through the aptly named Filipino Artists in New Zealand (FILINARTIZTS) and they have through sheer talent and force of effort outdone themselves in the Filipino Labour Weekend Reunion,  Philippine Independence Day celebrations, and hosted its own radio programme with Wellington Access Radio.

But deserving special mention is FILINARTIZTS’s participation as actors in the Ati-atihan Festival performances at the Festival of Carnivale, a multi-cultural showcase for visitors and locals alike coinciding with the Wellington schedule of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

We may be exaggerating a bit, but the moving force, vision, logistics not to mention funding for the latter event would be insufficient without Didith and the 101% love and effort she has put into it.

(The YouTube clip above is a sample of what FILINARTIZTS will do during the festival, but it will a little more elaborate  than this, I think.  Thanks and acknowledgment to “damarkez”, who produced the clip.)

The best part of all these is that she doesn’t seek any attention or recognition for all her good works, preferring to let our country and our people take all the benefits that emanate from the positive image that the Ati-atihan production will produce.

As if these weren’t enough, Didith is also a major actor behind the Philippines‘ participation in the Society of Southeast Asian communities (SSEAC), which promotes friendship and understanding between Southeast Asian people and migrant communities in New Zealand.  Among their activities has been the ASEAN Night Market held in Wellington recently, an event that presented the culinary talents of volunteers from the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.

We wish to emphasize that efforts from the other FILINARTIZTS members are no less awesome, but Didith, with the support of her devoted husband Clark, have been so impressive that we’ve found it particularly timely, with the ongoing Rugby World Cup, to recognize her achievements in our small corner.

Other kabayan may be equally as committed or do as much for Filipino arts and culture in the future, but for now no Pinoy or Pinay shines brighter than her in making all of us in NZ proud of our culture.  We would do well to take off our salakot for her, and say kabayan, maraming salamat po.

And that is why she is our favorite Kinoy.


*Kinoy is a contraction for Kiwi-Pinoy, a non-racial term for Pinoys who live, permanently or otherwise, in New Zealand.”

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